Everybody’s Scalin’ – Basic Paint Type Advice
I was recently painting my RC4WD Blazer body when I had the thought that it was time for a paint PSA.
One of the most common noob questions is “Can I use spray paint on my body?”. I sometimes see experienced hobbyists (those who don’t do any body work) fall prey to this erroneous misconception as well.
The answer, of course, is no. Well, it’s usually no. Let me explain.
Scalers come with both lexan and hard ABS plastic bodies. Many have plastic scale cages/chassis to further complicate things. In general it’s best to completely avoid using standard household spray paint and instead heed the following instructions.
The majority of r/c bodies are lexan, and therefore you want a polycarbonate paint that is formulated specifically for it. Regular paint will simply flake or fall off. You may think that the can of Krylon sitting in your garage may work just fine, but it won’t. Trust me. You’ll wind up with a ruined body if you run it at all. Get the proper stuff from your hobby shop.
ABS plastic bodies allow a bit more wiggle room as you CAN use standard hardware store caliber fare, but it’s still best to use specialty hobby plastic paint. Tamiya’s TS modeling paint is a favorite of mine, but many companies offer a similar quality product. The problem with the standard stuff is it goes on thick and may not cure with the plastic properly. You will also want to avoid using polycarbonate paint as it comes off pretty easy on hard plastic.
Plastic Chassis / Cages
If the color of your chassis is light (like the green Axial Grave Digger) and you want to go dark, Rit dye is your weapon of choice. I wrote an article on this awhile back you can check out here.
However, if you want to go from black to a specific color, paint will be what you want to work with. In this case I’d go with some plastic specific spray paint from your hardware store as for something like a chassis, a thick and tough coat is good. Just make sure you allow it to properly dry, which in many cases can take several days. I like using Van Sickle farm implement paint as that stuff cures like a powder coat.
Ask Your Local Hobby Shop
Even if you have a basic grasp of the above concepts, it’s still helpful to consult your local hobby shop. Many times they will have one basic paint section for the entire store, and in that you can find everything jumbled together- i.e. modeling paint, polycarb, airbrush bottles, etc. This makes it extremely easy to grab the wrong kind of spray.
I’ve made many of the above mistakes over the years so hopefully this information can save you a bit of hassle and money!